Currently Reading: A Dark Matter

The Northeast DC library recently reopened after major renovations and it is gorgeous.  It's open and spacious and full of light.  It's clean and organized.  It's wonderful.

I first went in there a few weeks ago to return my books and didn't plan on getting anything new (I'd finally had my Christmas presents shipped back to DC, which were mostly books), but I ended up wandering through the stacks and grabbed three new books to read.

A Dark Matter was the first.  My last experience with Peter Straub was nothing short of amazing.  Ghost Story was a book I couldn't put down and was physically terrified by.  It was one of the best horror novels I'd ever read.

Maybe it was that comparison or the expectations that I brought into this other book of his, but I was very disappointed.  The story itself is incredibly interesting:  over 40 years ago, a group of friends become involved with a guru, Spencer Mallon, and witness something in a field that changes all of their lives forever.  The bulk of the book is the Lee, the husband of one of those friends, working to discover what exactly that something was.

The dynamic of the friends is curious, as they grew up together in Madison, Wisconsin, with many of them from not-so-great home situations.  After the incident, they drift apart, but a few of them stay in sporadic touch.  Eventually, they are all drawn back together to share their stories with and for Lee.

This novel wasn't bad, it wasn't poorly written, and the story wasn't uninteresting, but I just couldn't get invested in it.  As I said, this may have been my own issue and other readers may not have the same problem I did.  Also, finally discovering what actually happened in that field was a bit of a letdown.  Spencer Mallon himself was also a bit of a letdown as I never understood what would have drawn these kids to him in the first place.  That charisma that a guru, a spiritual leader, a conman, has to have didn't come across for me.

I'll certainly give Peter Straub another shot, but this wasn't the book for me.

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